Amish White Bread
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I've had a fascination with the Amish community for nearly forty years. I think it started when I saw Witness (1985) with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. Then I bought a book, Among the Amish (1998) a collection of drawings and anecdotes by Keith Bowen. It left me spellbound and refuelled my fascination.
A week or so ago, I saw a posting on BreadClub20 for Amish bread and I thought...now's the time to do a little reading, a little writing and a little baking.
Both Amish Friendship Bread and Amish White Bread tend to be rather sweet. I can only presume that either the Amish baker or the Amish housewife has a sweet tooth or it's to help the yeast ferment.
Either way, I'm not a particular fan of sweet bread or enriched breads for that matter.
The following recipe and step-by-step process is for genuine Amish white bread. However, I've lowered the sugar content and this is for personal preference.
The original sugar content is in brackets within the ingredients. Please feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your own tastes.
474 mls of warm filtered water
25 gms demerara sugar (the original recipe calls for 50 gms)
1 heaped teaspoon of instant yeast (the original recipe calls for 4½ teaspoons of dried yeast)
10 gms of sea salt (the original recipe calls for 1½ teaspoons of salt)
54 gms of olive or vegetable oil
625 gms of strong white bread flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in some of the warm water and then add the yeast. Leave for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the oil into the mixture.
3. Add the remainder of the water and then the flour.
4. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
5. Add the salt and combine thoroughly.
6. Knead into a smooth dough.
7. Place into an oiled bowl, turn to cover with the oil and cover, leaving to rest and to rise for one hour. This may well be at room temperature or slightly warmer.
8. Knock back the dough and divide into two equal parts.
9. Shape into loaves and place in two greased loaf tins.
10. Cover and allow to rise for 40 minutes (again, at room temperature, it may take a little longer)
11. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C
12. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the underneath.
13. Brush with a little melted butter while in the pans. Cool on a rack.